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Hidden Shame as a Cause of Violence | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 1522-4821

International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience
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Hidden Shame as a Cause of Violence

Thomas Scheff

Professor Emeritus, University of California, SantaBarbara, USA

*Corresponding Author:
E-mail: [email protected]



The psychiatrist James Gilligan (1997) contended that shame is a key but completely hidden cause of violence, based on his long experience as a prison psychiatrist. He made it a practice of questioning those prisoners who had committed murder. When he asked them why they killed, their answers were often very similar: "He dissed (disrespected) me. What did you expect me to do?" On the basis of these responses, Gilligan proposed that not only murder, but all violence was caused by what he called "secret shame:"